2014 Jaguar F-Type engineering displays
Stable, predictable, and hugely fun to drive on the street, the F-Type belongs to a rare breed of cars that manages to balance ride comfort and handling quality on a knife's edge.
Enabling that balance of conflicting setup qualities is a mix of the F-Type's stiff chassis and finely tuned dampers, connected by modified A-arms at the front and a multi-link system at the rear. The suspension is made partly of aluminum to minimize unsprung weight, and lightweight alloy wheels further improve the equation. Coil-over springs and anti-roll bars give the car it's roll resistance.
At the front of the car, the chassis is braced to help aid the suspension in its work, but instead of the usual over-the-top shock tower bar, the bracing is routed around the front of the engine, in order to preserve the clean lines of the hood.
In base models, the dampers are standard passive units, unable to adjust to the road or driving conditions. Despite the lack of adjustment, the base F-Type manages a fine balance of responsive, agile cornering and road-smoothing characteristics.
F-Type S and V8 S models are upgraded to Jaguar's Adaptive Dynamics suspension, which gives the car control over the damper rates. Allowing up to 500 adjustments per second, the system does an admirable job of controlling wheel and body motion in any scenario.
The Adaptive Dynamics system also allows the Dynamic Mode to provide a firmer, more capable track-specific setup out of the box. The Configurable Dynamics system, a driver-selectable setup function, can use the Adaptive Dynamics system to tailor damper settings to suit the driver's wishes, along with other features like steering weight and throttle response.
How did Jaguar arrive at this fine balance of street performance and road comfort? Through extensive testing, on road and on track, including long sessions at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
As Ian Hoban, vehicle line director at Jaguar, put it, "As well as being a very high-speed test facility, it is also very demanding of the transmission, the chassis, and the brakes, allowing us to really exploit and test those final few tenths of the F-Type's abilities. Asking questions of every element of the F-Type's performance attributes allowed us to hone them as a holistic, integrated package."